About a month ago we started offering a GPS in our weekly worship guide. GPS stands for “Grow, Pray, Study.”
Today’s scripture reading is Philippians 2. I preached on a passage from this chapter yesterday, but today, reading the entire chapter, it got real for me as a reader and student of the bible, not just as a preacher.
This is what really caught me this morning: Philippians 2:13 says
God is the one who enables you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes.
I am stuck on this verse because at the moment it seems to me to unlock the very future of the church in the US!
Ask any pastor, and he or she will likely tell you that one of the greatest frustrations for pastors is the general cultural attitude most succinctly represented by this bumper sticker
The frustration is NOT that this doesn’t convey some truth about God’s grace. The frustration is that so many use this as a cop-out to miss out on the transformative power of God that is available with and by grace!
Sure, Christians aren’t perfect. Fine. No argument. But if you find yourself using this line as an excuse to refuse to change your behavior, that’s a problem.
If you claim the “Christians aren’t perfect” bit to fight learning to forgive others, that’s a problem.
If you throw down “Christians aren’t perfect” to justify the fact that you are no better a person, no more like Jesus, than you were a decade ago, that’s a problem.
This change God offers – God promises – is not on you! It is on God, and God is stepping up to the plate.
And God will deliver. God will enable you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes!
Yes, you will have to make some changes, but God provides the lead and the power, the direction, and the ability.
And the God who offers this, provides this, is the God who made you and who breathed life into you.
Let this singular, quiet verse soak in for a while today, and see what God can do with it!